Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Big wine + flat screen TVs seizure – Kent Police raid warehouses in Horsmonden and Brenchley

Report from Kent Police on an alleged large distribution fraud – wine and flat screen TVs:
Policing news

Goods recovered in fraud investigation fill four lorries

Items including tens of thousands of bottles of wine and the latest flat screen televisions have been seized by Kent Police following search warrants at warehouses in Horsmonden and Brenchley.

Officers from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit have also recovered commodities including shipments of marble tiles and even air conditioning units, as part of an investigation into an alleged conspiracy to defraud a number of foreign businesses.

Fraudulent orders
It is reported that fraudulent orders have been made to at least 20 companies, based outside of the UK.

Victims have complained although goods have been dispatched no payments have been received.

On Thursday 20 July 2017 search warrants were executed by Kent Police at two locations; a warehouse in Goudhurst Road, Horsmonden and a second premises in Tibbs Court Lane, Brenchley

In total police have seized 217 pallets of goods, filling four HGV lorries. A process to identify items recovered from these storage areas is ongoing.

A 26-year-old man from Horsmonden has been arrested in connection with the investigation and has been bailed, pending further enquiries, until 17 August.

Significant scale

Detective Inspector Annie Clayton said:  ‘We have received multiple complaints from victims who have alleged they have lost goods due to fraud and that these goods were delivered to storage facilities in west Kent; which have now been searched. 

‘This is a complex investigation, which is being assisted by our partners at Interpol and the Metropolitan Police and which has so far resulted in the recovery of vast amounts of property we believe has been obtained by fraudulent means. The Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate is committed to tackling those who facilitate organised crime in Kent and we are investigating allegations, which are on a very significant scale.’


Monday, 24 July 2017

2017 Tour de France – final overall standings and some reflections

Dylan Groenewegen wins sprint on 
Champs Elysée from André Griepel

 Chris Froome's 4th Tour de France victory

Michael Matthews comfortably wins Green
 Warren Barguil comfortably wins Climbers' Jersey

 Simon Yates has just over two minutes 
to win Young Riders

 Team Sky win Team – leading from start to finish

Dylan Groenewegen went for a long sprint on the Champs Elysée yesterday and held off the fast closing André Griepel to take his first Tour de France stage win. Griepel had been out of position and too far back at the final bend and left himself too much ground to make up. This means that this is the first Grand Tour, he has entered, since 2007 when he has not won a stage. 

Chris Froome safely completed the ceremonial ride into Paris to claim a remarkable fourth Tour de France win and the third consecutive win. He now becomes the only person to have four Tours and is fifth in line to Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain, who have all win the title five times. 

Fewer mountain top finishes almost certainly made this a closer Tour than usual, although the Giro had plenty of high mountains and the 2017 edition was very close going into the time trial on the last day. 

Froome rode an intelligent race backed by Team Sky clearly the strongest team followed by Romain Bardet's AG2R la Mondiale.

(More to follow.)

Sunday, 23 July 2017

2017 Tour de France: Bodnar wins TT Froome clinches 4th TDF; Stage 21 preview

Notre Dame de la Garde, Marseille

Macief Bodnar was the surprise victor 
yesterday with a fine ride

 Chris Froome with third place 
clinched his 4th Tour de France victory

As was widely expected Chris Froome clinched his fourth Tour de France victory – four in five years (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017), He becomes the fifth most successful winner of the Tour de France. Only Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx Bernard Hinault, and Miguel Indurain have won more editions of the Tour – all on five each. Armstrong, of course, 'won' seven but has been stripped of all of them because of his doping.

During our stay in Marseille in January we walking up the steep hill to Notre-Dame de la Garde, so it was no surprise to see some of the Tour riders struggling up the steep slope. Clearly some had underestimated its difficulty.    

Macief Bodnar set the best time (28.15) early on and despite Michal Kwiatkowski doing a great ride he just fell short of overhauling Bodnar by a second. 

Although Rigoberto Uran did a good ride (28.46) Chris Froome (28.21) was never threatened and came in third. Romain Bardet, suffering from a cold, lost a lot of time coming in at 30.18. He lost 2nd place overall to Uran and only held onto third place overall by one second to Mikel Landa.      


Stage 21: Montgeron to Paris Champs-Elysée 103 kms

Today is the traditional ceremonial stage into Paris enlivened at the end of the final sprint. Unless there is a crash there will be no change to the overall standings. From a depleted field of sprinters I am going for André Griepel to win challenged by Michael Matthews and Evald Boasson Hagen.